Japan Alumni eNews (Vol. 118)

Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 118 February 8, 2019

Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 118

1. Life in Japan by Photo

Learn about life in Japan with photos posted by our readers! We look forward to receiving memorable photos of your experiences in Japan, including your student life, exposure to Japanese culture and history, travel, and more.

1. Photo title (15 words or less)
2. Name (katakana and alphabet)
3. Nationality
4. Name of your school in Japan

February of Japan

The theme of the February issue is photos that show February in Japan.

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day



Setsubun (Bean-Throwing Festival)

Setsubun (Bean-Throwing Festival)

Plum Blossoms

Plum Blossoms

2. Alumni News

Bringing you news and first-hand stories about international students!

News on International Students

NEWS 1: With “Grand Design for Higher Education Toward 2040,” Japan Considers Reevaluation of Age Requirements for International Students Entering Japanese Universities

On November 26, 2018, the Central Council for Education announced their “Grand Design for Higher Education Toward 2040.” In this report, the Central Council for Education asserted the need to grow beyond an educational system based on students who enter universities at 18 years old, and implement structures within Japanese universities capable of accepting a wide variety of students, in order to establish campuses that accept the values of diverse students. Concrete measures include eliminating the 18-year old minimum age requirement for international students for some universities, and reevaluating admission requirements to accept students who have completed foreign educational programs under 12 years in length. The report also outlined the importance of universities offering more classes in English and establishing support systems with regards to Japanese language acquisition, internships, and job hunting, in order to increase the rate of international students that remain in Japan after graduation.

NEWS 2: Japanese Government (MEXT) Scholarship Student Priority Placement Programs Announced

On November 30, 2018, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology announced the programs that have been selected as Japanese Government (MEXT) Scholarship Student Priority Placement Programs. 63 (graduate school: 56 / undergraduate: 7) programs have been chosen out of 147 applications (graduate school: 133 / undergraduate: 14) from 67 universities. The goal of this project is to allot priority placement slots for Japanese Government (MEXT) Scholarship Students to outstanding programs that accept international students, thereby encouraging them to establish systems for the acquisition of talented international students. Many of the programs selected are very unique, including the “Special Training Program for the Integration of Data Science and Biomechanical Engineering to Support Long-Term Life Society” at Osaka University, the “International Cooperation Program Toward Fire Protection Engineers Development in Asia” at the Tokyo University of Science, and “Human Resource Development in Agricultural Sciences for Achieving SDGs with Transdisciplinary Scope” at Kyoto University.

Introduction of Current International Students

Phue Pwint Mon

Name: Phue Pwint Mon
Nationality: Myanmar
University: J.F. Oberlin University
Major: College of Business Management
Year: 4th year
Period of Stay in Japan: April 2014 to present
Japanese Proficiency Level: Japanese Language Proficiency Test N1

When I was in junior high school, my father visited Japan for business and when he came back, I heard a lot of stories about Japan and Japanese people from him. That is how my interest in Japan started. Then, I started learning the language since, in the current society, knowing only English is not enough. I was attracted to the Japanese language because it is similar in grammar with the Myanmar language and finally, in 2014, I got a chance to study in Japan under the government scholarship program.
Before coming to Japan, I did not have any confidence in my Japanese skills and was quite nervous about dealing with “strict” Japanese people. However, all the Japanese people I have met praise me for my Japanese skills and correct my mistakes kindly, which leads me to see a different side of Japanese people. Moreover, the thing that leaves the best impression for me in Japan is customer service and hospitality. Experiencing the service towards customers and “omotenashi” mindset in daily life becomes one of the best parts of living in Japan.
I am now studying Distribution and Marketing as my major in J.F.Oberlin University. After graduating in coming March, I am planning to go back to my country and look forward to working in a Japanese-related company or organization. I would like to apply the Japanese language skills, business knowledge and tips on communicating with Japanese people that I earned from my five-year stay in Japan, and to become someone who helps the relationship between Japan and Myanmar.
I would like to advise students who are preparing to study in Japan to study the Japanese language as much as possible before coming to Japan. If you are prepared enough to overcome the language barrier, you should be able to enjoy the student life in Japan to the fullest. Moreover, it would be best to open your heart, meet different people and have fun while experiencing many things in Japan.

List of Japan Alumni Associations

Introduction of Support for International Students Returning Home

Asia Dental Forum (ADF)

Indonesia has a population of approximately 250 million people and 23,262 dentists, meaning there is only one dentist for every 10,900 people. Compare this to Japan, where there is a dentist for every 1,260 people and it clear there is a shortage of dentists in Indonesia. The lack of instructors and the shortage of medical devices and equipment (both in terms of quantity and quality) have kept the clinical competence of dentists in Indonesia low. In 2016, the JDAI (Japan Dental Alumni Indonesia), established by ADF and comprised mainly of former international students of Japan, used their network to help establish the Trisakti University Dental Training Center. The goal is to introduce and popularize Japan’s high-level dental equipment in Indonesia, and work to improve the clinical competence of dentistry in the country as a whole. The project is supported by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry as well as Medical Excellence JAPAN (MEJ), ADF, and a variety of Japanese dental companies, with efforts continuing now and into the future.

Contact Information:
Executive Office, Asia Dental Forum
New Light Building 204, 2-25-6 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033

3. Academic News

Introduction of scholarships, grants, unique activities at particular universities, and more!

Introducing Universities

Here we introduce you to particular faculties and graduate schools at Japanese universities.

Tokyo Keizai University

Tokyo Keizai University Kokubunji Campus

University Profile (as of May 1, 2018)
Name: Tokyo Keizai University
Kokubunji Campus: 1-7-34, Minami-cho, Kokubunji-shi, Tokyo
Number of Students: Undergraduate: 6,706 / Graduate School: 48
International Students: Undergraduate: 57 / Graduate School: 30

1. Overview of University (History, Mission, etc.)

Tokyo Keizai University is a university of the social sciences, with 118 years of history. Based on the spirit of “Forward Forever” embodied in the founding of the university, and with an emphasis on responsibility and honesty, it develops intellectual abilities in young people appropriate for participation in the global society of today. Based on tradition and experience, Tokyo Keizai University continuously promotes self-reforms in positive response to the needs of society as well as the times, and offers its services to the surrounding communities and the wider society.

2. Overview and Characteristics of Distinctive Faculties and Departments

Faculty of Economics seminar

Tokyo Keizai University is home to four faculties (the Faculty of Economics, the Faculty of Business Administration, the Faculty of Communication Studies, and the Faculty of Contemporary Law) and four graduate schools (the Graduate School of Economics, the Graduate School of Business Administration, the Graduate School of Communication Studies, and the Graduate School of Contemporary Law). At Tokyo Keizai University, students can learn specialized knowledge in their respective fields. In addition to this, they also have access to a wide variety of fields, including foreign languages, which are useful when going out into society, philosophy, ethics, and the natural sciences; all of which contribute to broadening the mind and will help them become more well-rounded members of society. There is a particular focus on seminars in small groups, where students can engage in research while developing skills of autonomy, cooperation, and communication.

3. Support for International Students (Accommodations Support and Tuition Reduction)

Career Design Program workshop

- The university offers a 30% deduction in tuition fees as well as its own scholarship funding, to reduce the financial burden on international students and support the continuation of their education.
- The university offers advice for visa procedures, and can act as an application agency with regards to visa renewals.
- The student dormitory (International House) is available for male students. Female students who move residences when they enter the university will be provided with financial support under certain conditions. University policy also allows the university to act as a cosigner if students wish to move into a private residence.
- The International Exchange Office handles international student affairs, and works with professors, student consultation centers, and the Educational Support Office to provide steady support for international students.
- The university also offers Japanese tutoring upon request, so that international students may receive one-on-one support for any educational issues.

4. Other Types of Support for International Students (Employment, International Exchange, etc.)

Global Lounge cotopatio

International Exchange
- There are international exchange tutors who aim to drive social interaction between international students and the general student population. The BBQ party at the beginning of the year, the annual overnight trip, and the popular sports tournament are all great opportunities for international students to meet new people.
- Global Lounge Cotopatio, attached to the International Exchange Office, is a space for student exchange, where students can practice English as well as a variety of other foreign languages. Here, international students act as instructors of their native language, and interact with students who want to learn more about other cultures and languages.

Career Support
- The university offers career-based group interviews for 1st years, 2nd years, and 3rd years. There are approximately 800 job hunting support events held every year at the university, including on-campus joint company information sessions, etc. All of which are open to international students as well. The university also allocates staff members that specialize in providing job hunting support for international students, and who provide individual career consultations. There are also job hunting guidance sessions offered 4 to 5 times a year specifically for international students, on themes like “Mental/Emotional Preparation for Job Hunting in Japan,” “Business Japanese and Business Etiquette,” “Briefing Session on International Student Job Hunting Experiences,” designed to soothe any anxieties these students may have about job hunting in Japan.

Information about Scholarships, Grants, Invitations, Prizes, etc.

M&A Forum

Project Name
13th M&A Forum Award
1. Objective:
M&A Forum strives to popularize and spread the word about M&As in Japan, and develop personnel and markets towards that purpose. M&A Forum offers the “M&A Forum Award” to recognize outstanding works and research papers related to M&A, written from a variety of perspectives such as law, economics, business administration, accounting, tax affairs, society, culture, etc.
2. Theme and Application Requirements:
- Works or research papers related to M&A (written about the relationship between M&As and law, economics, business administration, accounting, tax affairs, society, culture, etc.) and that presents a logical, empirical, and/or practical analysis of the topic at hand.
- The work/research paper must be written in Japanese. Works and papers published in economics journals, comprehensive journals, bulletins, etc., between the period of April 2018 and March 2019 are also eligible for this award. Students in graduate schools, undergraduate programs, and vocational schools are also allowed to submit their master’s theses, doctoral dissertations, and senior theses. (International students are also eligible.)
- All works, papers, etc., submitted must be written by the applicant him-/herself.
3. Application Method:
- Go to the URL listed below in “7. Contact,” fill out (A) and (B) on the designated application form, and submit your application, together with a summary of your submission (approximately 1,000 characters, no prescribed format) at the address listed on the website.
- Make sure to submit two copies of the work or paper in question. Please be aware that the work or paper submitted with your application will not be returned to you.
4. Application Deadline:
Tuesday, April 30, 2019 (as indicated by the postmark on the envelope)
5. Judging / Announcement of Results / Awarding of Prize:
- A screening committee comprised of leading researchers and businesspeople from a variety of M&A-related fields will judge the submitted works and papers.
- Award winners will be notified at the end of August 2019, and the results will be posted on the M&A Forum official website (only winners will be notified).
- Award winners are expected to receive their award certificate and prize money around late September 2019 to early October.
6. Prize Amount:
- M&A Forum Grand Prize “RECOF Award” (1 recipient): Award certificate and prize of 500,000 yen
- M&A Forum Encouragement Award “RECOF Encouragement Award” (1 recipient): Award certificate and prize of 100,000 yen
- M&A Forum Screening Committee Special Recognition Award “RECOF Special Recognition Award” (1 recipient / For students, including part-time students): Award certificate and prize of 100,000 yen
7. Contact:
Executive Office, M&A Forum
Soteira Building 3F, 10 Ichibancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0082
Nippon Research Institute
TEL: 03-5216-7315
FAX: 03-5216-7316

Information about International Symposium

The 11th International Symposium on Water Supply Technology: Water Supply Services and Their Future - Reliable, Sustainable, and Smart

This symposium is the only regularly-held international conference in Japan with regards to water supply technologies. It features lectures by specialists both inside and outside of Japan, oral and poster presentations of submitted papers, panel discussions, etc., through which participants discuss the issues and future direction of water supply technologies. There will also be an exhibition attached to the symposium (free admission), in which various companies and organizations introduce their latest technologies and more things related to water supply.

Date/Time: Tuesday, July 9 to Thursday, July 11, 2019
Location: Conference Center, PACIFICO Yokohama (1-1-1 Minatomirai, Nishi-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa)

Space Education Symposium 2019

JAXA Space Education Center promotes "Learning with space" to encourage children to have a passion for learning, to discover new knowledge and skills, and to stay involved in learning throughout their lives. This symposium will introduce various materials and practical examples of space education to help you understand how interesting and attractive it is. Please refer to the URL for detailed information and online registration.

Date/Time: Saturday, March 2, 2019 / 1:00 P.M. to 5:20 P.M. (Doors open at 12:00 P.M.) and Sunday, March 3, 2019 / 9:00 A.M. to 3:30 P.M.
Location: National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan (3-1-1 Yaei, Chuo, Sagamihara, Kanagawa)

Academic Societies

<Literature, Philosophy, Education, Psychology, Sociology, History>

<Law, Politics>

<Economics, Commerce, Business>




<Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy>

Japanese Language Tests

4. Business News

JASSO provides information about job-search for both current and graduate international students!

Job Hunting Event Information

Events for International Students

Useful Websites for International Students

Job Hunting Report

Zhang Huan

Name: Zhang Huan
Nationality: China
University: The Kyoto College of Graduate Studies for Informatics
Major: School of Applied Information Technology
Period of Stay in Japan: September 2011 to April 2017
Current Workplace: Agnie Consulting Corporation
Japanese Proficiency Level: Japanese Language Proficiency Test N1

My first contact with Japan was through Japanese anime. I saw the landscapes depicted in anime and was struck by how genuine they seemed, and how beautiful the nature was. I thought that this is what Japan was like, and knew I wanted to go there someday. Then, when I was in my 3rd year at university, I came across an opportunity to study in Japan, and transferred to a Japanese university as a 3rd year in the same field I’d been studying in China.

There were two reasons why I wanted to work in Japan. The first was that after four years of working various part-time jobs, I’d really gotten to know the Japanese work ethic. I was especially inspired by the way Japanese people honor punctuality and take their work very seriously, and I started thinking that I wanted to work with Japanese people. The second reason was that I wanted to gain work experience in Japan, learn more about Japanese culture, learning from parts of it that I admire, and use that, along with my knowledge of Chinese culture, to start a business that will let me serve as a kind of bridge between Japan and China.

My message to those going into job hunting in Japan is to really research what kinds of trends there are in fresh graduate job hunting, and what you need to watch out for. This is especially important nowadays, since there’s a chance that companies will move their hiring periods around. Make sure to look up this kind of information on the Internet or through your school’s career support center. I also think it’s smart and will make for a smoother job hunting experience if you set up a job hunting schedule, an application schedule, etc., after you look up the hiring periods and application requirements for the companies you want to apply to.

My dream in the future is to be a systems consultant. It’s been a year and a half since I started working, and I’m currently involved in consulting work. My seniors have taught me all kinds of common knowledge and skills that I need to work in a company. I want to continue learning the skills I need to be a systems consultant, and eventually establish my own company in the area of Japan-China business.

I think the most important thing when job hunting is to really delve deep and research the companies you’re interested in before you apply to them. Go through the company’s website, read through their company overview, corporate philosophy, etc., and make sure you understand what kind of services and/or products the company has to offer. In other words, it’s best to put your energy into researching companies and figuring out why you want to work for them, and what kind of things you want to accomplish if you were to get into these companies.

The hiring process for job hunting can be divided roughly into written exams and interviews. For interviews, make sure to prepare an attire appropriate for job hunting in Japan, and memorize in advance the greetings you’ll need to use. For written exams, make sure to prepare thoroughly for the aptitude tests (SPI, Tamatebako, etc.). I think getting used to the written exam formats and time limits before actually applying to any company will give you a definite advantage in the job hunting process.

Job Hunting Information Article


In March, companies will begin posting recruitment information, marking the beginning of the official job hunting process. Recruitment websites will come live, and you will begin attending information sessions, taking written exams, submitting entry sheets, and more. Though the official hiring process does not begin until June, you should also be preparing for job interviews during this period.

Interviews are conducted after you pass the document screening and the written exam. Most companies require about three interviews, with different interviewers each time. In many companies, the third (final) interview is conducted by the president or executives of the company.

There are three different kinds of interviews: individual interviews, in which you are interviewed on your own; group interviews, in which you are interviewed with several other students; and group discussions, in which you are placed into a group of 4 to 6 students and asked to discuss a particular theme.

In general, the questions the interviewers ask you will be the same ones on the entry sheet you submitted to that company. In fact, the interviewer will generally be looking through your entry sheet as they ask you the questions. As such, you should always double-check what you wrote on your entry sheet before going into an interview, to prevent yourself from giving a different answer than the one you submitted. As the interview goes on, however, there is a higher chance you will be asked to provide further explanations as to what you wrote on your entry sheet. Make sure to try to predict the kinds of questions that will be asked of you in the interview, and prepare for them in advance.

Many people get nervous for interviews, but most of the time, the nerves are due to a lack of preparedness. Ask your friends from school, career counselor, etc., to do mock interviews with you, and practice for upcoming interviews. Remember that interviews are an evaluation of you by a third party. Have as many third parties evaluate your performance in these interviews, and make sure to fix any issues they notice before the real thing. Practicing beforehand and getting used to interviews in general will allow you to keep a level head when you interview with companies.

5. Visit Japan

Have you been travelling around Japan? In this section, we bring you information about sights, events, and foods from all over the country! The February edition looks at Oita prefecture.

Oita Prefecture

Beppu Onsenkyo

Beppu Onsenkyo

Oita Prefecture is home to a very large number of hot springs, including famous spots like Beppu Onsen and Yufuin Onsen. The most famous of these, Beppu Onsenkyo, is a collective term for the many hot springs in Beppu City. Also referred to as Beppu Hatto, it is comprised of eight hot springs. Beppu Onsenkyo boasts the largest number of spring sources as well as the largest volume of hot spring water production in Japan, and indeed boasts the second largest volume of hot spring water production in the world (following Yellowstone National Park in the U.S.). As one of the top-class hot springs sites in Japan, it sees over 4 million tourists annually. Beppu Onsenkyo was already recognized in the Heian and Kamakura Periods, and in the Edo Period was crowded with visitors aiming to cure illness in the hot springs, a medical practice called “toji” that was popular at the time. In the Meiji Era, developments in transportation infrastructure, like ships and railways, allowed Beppu Onsenkyo to develop into a full-blown hot springs city, frequented by tourists from all over Japan.



Kabosu is a citrus fruit that is an Oita Prefecture specialty. More than 90% of the kabosu produced in Japan come from Oita Prefecture. Most of the time, kabosu is not eaten directly, but squeezed for its juice, which is then used to add flavor to various dishes, for seasoning sashimi and grilled fish, or as flavor in hot pot dishes. In local Oita Prefecture, they are also sometimes used in miso soup, noodle dishes, and even shochu. There is a trick to squeezing the juice of a kabosu: cutting it in half or into segments, then squeezing with the skin side down. This is the preferred method because much of the aroma from the kabosu is said to come from components in the skin. Ponzu made from relatively less sour kabosu are often used to flavor fugu dishes, which tends to be simple, since neighboring Fukuoka and Yamaguchi Prefectures are known for their production of fugu.

6. NIPPON Information

This section features enjoyable stories about pop culture, traditions, dining, cutting-edge technology, and more!

Lifestyle Information



This month we will discuss the Japanese tradition of eating ehomaki during Setsubun, a tradition that you would think has been around since olden times, but has actually been popularized only recently.

Setsubun, the day people eat ehomaki in Japan, refers to the day before the start of a new season, and as such occurs four times a year. Most people in the general population, however, use Setsubun to refer only to risshun (the day before the start of spring), and nowadays Setsubun has mostly come to refer to that specific date at the start of February. Traditionally, Setsubun has been a day for the mamemaki (bean-throwing) ritual, in which people throw roasted beans around one’s house and at temples and shrines to ward off oni (supernatural demons). In recent years, however, it is the ehomaki ritual that gets more of the attention during Setsubun. People eat ehomaki while facing the eho, or “lucky” direction prescribed by the year’s zodiac sign. If they do this silently and without stopping, their wish is said to come true. The eho for 2019, by the way, is east-northeast.

There are various theories as to the origin of the ehomaki ritual. One theory says that it comes from a long-time tradition in the karyukai (world of the geisha) in Osaka, while another says that it comes from superstitions held by generals during the Sengoku Period. The real reason for the ritual, however, remains unclear. One of the only definitive records available as to the ehomaki ritual are pamphlets from sushi trade associations in Osaka in the 1930s to 1940s, which urged people to eat sushi rolls while facing the eho to bring good luck into their life. These kinds of sushi rolls were sold for a while under the names kofuku makizushi (good luck sushi rolls) and engimaki (auspicious rolls). It wasn’t until the 1980s, however, when a major convenience store chain began selling them as ehomaki, that they truly entered the public consciousness.

Magazines and Brochures from Japanese Government

Providing public relations materials regarding Japan, including culture and sport.

7. JASSO News

Information about JASSO Scholarship programs, invitation programs, Study in Japan Fairs, and the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU).

2018-2019 Study in Japan Fairs

JASSO (Japan Student Services Organization) holds Study in Japan Fairs overseas for high school and university students who wish to study in Japan. It also participates in and assists with events and company briefing sessions held by other organizations.

Information about the “Student Guide to Japan”

For all those considering studying in Japan, we recommend you to read the "Student Guide to Japan" first.
In addition to information on the Japanese education system, scholarships, and daily life in Japan, the guidebook also includes stories about international students' experiences in Japan.
You can read the guidebook on the JASSO website, so we encourage not only those who are considering studying in Japan, but also students already studying in Japan to take a look.

You can read it in 14 languages such as Japanese, English, Chinese (simplified Chinese and traditional Chinese), Korean, Indonesian, Thai, Vietnamese, Myanmar language, Bengali, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, French, German, Mongolian, and Portuguese.

Official Facebook Pages of JASSO and Overseas Representative Offices

We also provide the latest information on studying in Japan on our official Facebook pages. Check them out!

Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU)

JASSO Scholarship Programs

Web Magazine “Ryugakukoryu”

The February 2019 issue will be published on February 12. Please make sure to read it!

Follow-up Research Fellowship (Invitation Program)

This program provides former international students who play active roles in education, research and government in their home countries with an opportunity to conduct short term research at universities in Japan.

New University Listing(s):
University of Tsukuba
Kyushu University
Ochanomizu University
Kagawa University
University of Yamanashi
University of the Ryukyus

Follow-up Research Guidance (Dispatching Research Advisors)

This program provides Japanese academic advisors with an opportunity to visit and to help further research of former international students who are teaching and/or researching at universities or research institutes in their home countries.

8. From the Editor

As you can see from the “Business News” and “Job Hunting Event Information” sections of this issue, job hunting events for international students really start to pick up between February and March. The first step in job hunting is gathering information. This has become particularly important in recent years, what with the large-scale changes surrounding the job hunting circumstances of international students in Japan. Though it may be easier and more convenient to gather information on the Internet or through various forms of media, actually attending these job hunting events will give you direct access to company representatives and job hunting specialists that can give you information you wouldn’t have been able to get otherwise. It might still be cold out, but if you can gather up the courage to get out there and go looking for “hot” new information, you might find that a job hunting path will open itself up to you.

The Japan Alumni eNews Editorial Desk is looking for people who can share their job hunting experience. We also welcome pictures from your life abroad as an exchange student and your comments for our e-mail magazine. Our next issue of Japan Alumni eNews will be distributed on March 8. Don’t miss it!

  • Information in this issue may change without notice. Please visit their websites for the latest information.

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